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Everything posted by Andrew

  1. Since the participants thus far have been folks knowledgeable about their film history, the only place where I could see the necessity of a veterans committee would be in a preventative capacity. Say, a fly-by-night member or group of trolls attempted to add a Pureflix film or a mediocre bit of atheist propaganda like The Unbelievers. I think having a veterans committee that operated with complete transparency might be good to have on standby, just in case. I think, otherwise, the issues addressed by the erstwhile Nominating Committee (number of films per director, etc.) can be addressed in discussion here.
  2. Wow, that's fascinating, and it comes on the heels of a conversation yesterday with a former English major (now tea guru in Asheville) who pointed out the use of vertical lines dividing characters of different social strata in Parasite. I'll try to be more mindful of this.
  3. Thanks for this summation, Rob. I think the Decalog question has a consensus, but perhaps we could informally give our yays or nays to the other questions here? 1) Do we grandfather in the 30-some films before, or do we consider adding in missed films after we submit our lists secretly? 2) Do the golden ticket films go into the Top 100 or Honorable Mention? 3) Number of films per director on final list? For the record, I vote as follows: - 1) After - 2) Into the Top 100 if under 20 participants; Honorable Mention otherwise - 3) Here, I'd go with tradition and stick with 3 (for me, this strikes a balance between recognizing the greatness of certain directors while making sure they don't hog the spotlight).
  4. I know I'm contradicting what I wrote earlier in the week, but the more I ponder it and read the back and forth here, the more I'm inclined to stick with films and exclude TV series or miniseries. It would be fun to do a list of Top 25 in television, but including Six Feet Under, Deadwood (the full series or last year's made-for-TV movie), The Decalog, or Jesus of Nazareth in a Top 100 would muddy the waters. I chose those four examples deliberately, because all four are most certainly spiritually significant. (I can't comment on the artistic merits of the last one, since I haven't seen it since my childhood - complete with commercial breaks! - but the other three are as artful as many a film that's made previous Top 100s.)
  5. Thanks for the responses. Yes, I didn't see this film as being preachy in the least, but I felt there was still a strong criticism of a system of employment (and implicitly, an economic system) that places money above common humanity in such a degrading, humiliating fashion. While it's clearly not all this film is signifying, Deux Jours Une Nuit definitely meshes with the classic critique of capitalism that it endeavors to keep the rabble fighting amongst themselves (bonus versus keeping a depressed woman on the employment rolls?) rather than directing their action against the oppressive ruling class. Interesting comment about their use of music; I'll keep that in mind when I watch Kid with a Bike today.
  6. I dunno, unless folks come out of the woodwork with lists, the number of voices/opinions seems manageable; so I'd just as soon keep it one person/one vote. Likewise, I'd prefer to see any missed films be grandfathered into the voting, not the final list. Personally, I wouldn't have a problem with Decalogue and Three Colors being the two exceptions to this rule.
  7. I remember that discussion as well, but a 10 min search didn't dig it up. Maybe ask Beth about it, since I'm pretty sure she was an active participant.
  8. A couple of comments: - I prefer revising on the fly to grandfathering in films. Building from scratch just seems more fun and adventurous to me. - I'll second Evan's statement from yesterday that submissions ought to be blind. - Like Rob, I wouldn't object to modifying the schedule, to allow more time to view nominated films. Maybe a March 20 deadline for list submission, and an April 15 voting deadline?
  9. Well, damn; consider me gobsmacked. I guess I'll go ahead and add the Dardennes to my must-see directors list for festivals now. What a difference a decade makes, in terms of cinematic appreciation. I assume I don't need to say SPOILERS, for a film that everyone else watched five years ago, but I will anyway. Thoughts and jottings in no particular order: - I see that the debate over Sandra's rebound after her suicide attempt was a hot topic for a while. I'll play my psychiatrist card here and say that, while far from universal, I've seen such a response too many times to count. It's not the norm, but it's not terribly uncommon either. The suicide attempt and the response of the people around the individual can galvanize/recharge/purge a person of hopelessness and suicidal ideation, on occasion long-term. And it is totally the ER clinicians' discretion as to whether to hospitalize a patient or not after a suicide attempt. I'm never 100% comfy about it, but I've discharged similar patients from the ER in the past. Others admit themselves to the hospital voluntarily; others I've committed because they remain high-risk in my estimation. - This has gotta be Cotillard's career-best performance, amirite? To use the cliche, she totally lost herself in this role, and I totally bought it. - One minor quibble: the scene where Sandra, her hubby, and her coworker bop to Gloria struck me as a bit cheesy ("do you like rock?" "I love rock!"). The only sequence that took me out of an otherwise 100% immersive experience. - I trust the Dardennes when they say the workplace experience that starts the film is based in reality. I've not witnessed the exact same thing, but I've seen enough workplace toxicity that's close enough. To cite but one recent example from the job I just left: when I initiated a detailed presentation of workplace harrassment by a clinic director to my company executives, with multiple corroborating witnesses, I was subsequently subjected to the most humiliating dressing-down I've ever received in my career and received my first-ever below average mark on 'team player' on my annual eval. (Among the 12+ examples of harrassment I presented, the director had a depressed case manager fired, she forbade people to talk over lunch about things they'd done over the weekend together if she hadn't been invited, and she serially bullied numerous competent clinicians into resigning.) Whistleblower retaliation, anyone? So if these sorts of things happen to employees with a college degree or higher, I have no doubt that other workplaces do even worse to those with less education. - Increasingly I appreciate films like this that use non-diagetic music sparingly, if at all. This tells me that directors trust their story enough to allow people to think about the onscreen action without being Mickey Moused along. - Speaking of music, I understand why Manu wanted to turn off the radio when Petula Clark's "La nuit n'en finit plus" is playing. Those are some seriously bleak lyrics! - Curious that the subtitles toned down some of the cuss words. I noticed that expressions like "fucked up (foutu)" were used a couple of times, which the subtitles didn't reflect. - For those more familiar with the Dardennes, did they intentionally give this film a socialist bent? From my friendships with western European folk (France in particular), I know that socialism and even Marxism aren't the dirty words that they so often are in 'Murica, so I was curious.
  10. Hahahaha! Thanks for giving me a laugh out loud moment first thing in the morning...
  11. Andrew

    Other Dardenne Films

    Thanks for the advice, gents. Based on this, it sounds like Two Days, One Night and Kid with a Bike are the places to start.
  12. Andrew

    Other Dardenne Films

    Hoo boy, it's been a while. I know for certain that I watched The Son; and I'm pretty sure The Child was the other film of theirs that I viewed. The affectless acting and its muted effect on the drama (at least for me) certainly turned me off; I felt the same way about Bresson, after giving Balthazar and Country Priest a go. (On reflection, this is probably one of the many reasons I enjoy Kurosawa and Ghibli films so much; they don't stint on heightened emotion.)
  13. Andrew

    Other Dardenne Films

    This seems as good a place as any for this question. In preparation for Top 100 voting and what have you, I'd like to watch at least a couple of Dardenne films. Truth be told, I found their style off-putting and haven't watched one of their films for several years. For those who dig their style, which 2-3 films of theirs do you esteem most highly?
  14. After 10 years of list-making, I'm in favor of shaking things up with a different process. Then again, I'm not doing the heavy lifting, so I'll defer to those who are.
  15. Andrew


    In the words of the immortal Ron Burgundy, agree to disagree. Will Ferrell and Zach Woods were terrific, I agree (career-best non-comic role for Ferrell, while Woods shows that he could have a career in dramatic roles if he wants it). But I only found Louis-Dreyfus intermittently believable, while Miranda Otto was downright awful as Charlotte (such a telling contrast to the thoughtful Charlotte character in the original), and Kristofer Hivju was wasted (again, Force Majeure used his talents so much more effectively). On the plus side, the ending scene was a clever, thoughtful touch. But besides those two or three positives, I felt this was inferior in every way to Force Majeure, which I detailed at length in my review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2020/02/skip-this-downhill-course-and-ski-force-majeure-instead/
  16. My thoughts: 1) Like Joel, I'm ambivalent on this one. I've started to type a couple of replies, then stop and think, "on the other hand..." 2) Given the small number of participants in last year's list-making, I'd say no. 3) Either 2 or 3 would be my preference.
  17. In my 2020 goal to not only watch and review more current and recent cinematic releases, I'm striving to watch 'classic' films with more regularity. So far in 2020, this 1960 film by Mikio Naruse has been my favorite discovery. Criminally, it's the only talkie by Naruse that's available for Region 1 disc players, despite his high esteem and an oeuvre that includes 75 (!) features. I'd love to hear from any others who have seen this film, or others by Naruse, but here are some preliminary thoughts: - Naruse has a reputation for being a 'director of women,' and on the basis of this single film, I can see why. Its nearly exclusive focus on the life of Keiko/Mama (Hideko Takamine) is a rich study of an imperfect, sturdy, complicated, yet ultimately admirable woman. In Takamine's incredible performance, we observe a woman pressed on all sides - for money, affection, emotional support - who only allows herself to crumple sporadically, but most of the time keeping up a strong front. - The acting and script are masterful examples of the layers present in communication. The words and eyes say one thing, but the sum of verbal and nonverbal cues often convey something else entirely. This is certainly a part of polite, deferential Japanese public conduct, but obviously it's universal to a greater degree. - The choice to be understated and prosaic pays huge dividends in this film. Mama is dealing with real-life stuff: paying off bill collectors, fending off groping hands, coping with a nagging mother and decent but irresponsible brother. Two-thirds or three-quarters of the way through, when Mama allows herself to be vulnerable with someone she perceives is a kindred, kind and lonely spirit, the catharsis is intense and completely earned. - As a lover of films by Ozu and Kurosawa, it was fun to see actors regularly employed by them - Tetsuya Nakadai most obviously, but countless others - in quite different roles. Like Ozu, Naruse is a master here of domestic drama and the clash of traditional and new/western fashions and values. Unlike Ozu, the occasional voiceover and focus on shoes ascending the titular stairs give this film almost a 1940s noir feel. And the focus of the drama here is much more individualistic than familial.
  18. I hated it for many of the same reasons. I despise it for cynically pandering to an audience who craves stories of feminist empowerment - Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman - in ways that are so crass and ugly. It staggers me that this is 81% fresh at RT. My full review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2020/02/hey-at-least-birds-of-prey-is-less-awful-than-suicide-squad/
  19. I'm so grateful for the folks who shared their appreciation here of The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open. What a splendid, thoughtful film. I was inspired enough to write a full review yesterday: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2020/02/the-body-remembers-when-the-world-broke-open-a-rewarding-subtle-film/?fbclid=IwAR1rtO8QPFxqHHHgS-jEJCKSDd3Tr314TxJzo85QRWptv8zxA_4i_3pGijk
  20. I disagree - the final act does include a reckoning or two. But I do agree with you about the comedic part; I rewatch this every couple of years and still find it delightful.
  21. Thanks for your work on this, Ken. Just wanted to make sure you were aware that there are no links to discussions on films prior to #11.
  22. This makes sense to me. Very much enjoying the discussion here. I appreciate the inclusive definition of spirituality being utilized (and from Steven's 2011 comments, it's been a part of things for 9 years). Even as an atheist who doesn't accept the presence of a human or divine spirit, I don't think we've found a better word than "spirituality" to encompass everything we're talking about. And at least one of the surviving "Four Horsemen" of atheism, Sam Harris, has repeatedly said as much, too.
  23. Andrew


    Plenty of inspirations along the way, and still: - As an adolescent: the punchy, catchy, opinionated, informative writing style of Stephen Hunter and Harlan Ellison. - As a younger adult and into my 40s: the elegant, open-to-all-genres approach of Roger Ebert, exemplified in his reviews and his autobiography. In addition, I noted that after his first brush with cancer, his reviews increasingly accentuated the positive and became way less mean-spirited, an example I strive to imitate. - Writing my first academic analyses in my late 30s-early 40s: the intellectual rigor and clarity of Stephen Prince's Kurosawa writings - As an evangelical, then post-evangelical wanting to break out of the fundamentalist 'pop culture' is evil' mindset: the worldviews and film analyses at Hollywood Jesus, and Jeffrey Overstreet's film criticism - Mentors to me (whether they've been conscious of it or intentional about it or not), from the mid-2000s to the present day: Doug Cummings, Ken Morefield, Darren Hughes - Critics who participate here, whose clarity, critical discernment, and open bringing of their worldviews to their writing is admirable: Joel Mayward, Evan Cogswell
  24. This part certainly meshes with the reality (in the US, at least) that daughters tend to stay closer to their parents than sons, exemplified by the reality that they're normally the heavy lifters when it comes to caring for older parents.
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